VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 4 • DECEMBER 2010 • COMPLIMENTARY
HOLIDAY TREATS — CG STYLE WE REVEAL THE FIRST-EVER CG READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS DESERT DEALS CAN’T BE BEAT 2010’S BIGGEST CG GIVEAWAY! NORTHWEST GOLF NEWS & VIEWS • cascadegolfer.com
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Volume 4 • Issue 4 • DECEMBER 2010
www.cascadegolfer.com Cascade Golfer is published and owned by Varsity Communications, Inc. This publication is mailed free to more than 106,000 registered Puetz Golf Preferred members. Additional copies are printed and distributed throughout the Puget Sound.
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P R E S I D E NT / P U B LI S H E R Dick Stephens E D I TO R Brian Beaky ART DIRECTION Robert Becker GR APHIC DESIGNERS Robert Becker, Heather Flyte, John Kimball CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tony Dear, Matt McKay FOR EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS AND INQUIRIES: Brian Beaky • (206) 367-2420 ext. 1209 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Consolidated Press • Seattle, WA COPYRIGHT 2010 Cascade Golfer. PRINTED IN THE USA. All rights reserved. Articles, photos, advertising and/or graphics may not be reprinted without the written permission of the publisher. Advertising and editorial contained herein does not constitute endorsement of Cascade Golfer or Varsity Communications, Inc. Publisher reserves the right to edit letters, photos and copy submitted and publish only excerpts. The publisher has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all material contained in this issue. However, as unpredictable changes and errors do occur, the publisher can assume no liability for errors, omissions or changes. All photos are courtesy of the course or individual unless otherwise noted. PRODUCER AND OWNER OF THE PROUD CHARTER MEMBER
Departments 6 PUBLISHER’S PITCH 10 SHORT GAME
• • • • • • •
Supers prep for rough winter BellinghamGolfer.com Southcenter welcomes GolfTEC Champs crowned at Cascade Golfer Cup Millions of reasons NW pros are smiling Prange gets Tattoo Winter’s the time for tinkering
16 SG EXTRA: Holiday Gift Ideas
30 CASCADE GOLFER READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS! CG readers pick the courses, holes, clubhouses and more that made them smile in 2010
Perfect gifts for all Cascade golfers
20 PUETZ IN THE BAG
• New irons from all the big boys • Callaway, Lamborghini team up • OGIO’s hot new bags
24 RISK VS REWARD
Washington National No. 17
54 POST GAME
Food and drink to warm your belly
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2010 CASCADE GOLFER
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS… We kick off our annual winter desert foray in the city that never sleeps
… IS FORGIVEN IN PALM SPRINGS Palm Springs, winter and golf go together like martinis and olives
WANT TO REACH 106,000+ PUGET SOUND GOLFERS? ADVERTISE IN CASCADE GOLFER! Contact David Stolber • sales @ cascadegolfer.com • (206) 367-2420, ext.1204 Bali Hai Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Callaway. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Cathedral Canyon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Conestoga Golf Club. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Courtyard by Marriott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Desert Falls Country Club. . . . . . . . . . . 49 Desert Pines Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Desert Willow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 EFX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Embassy Suites La Quinta. . . . . . . . . . . 48 Embassy Suites Palm Desert. . . . . . . . . 37 Golf Mesquite Nevada. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 GolfTEC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Homewood Suites La Quinta. . . . . . . . . 52
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Lake Las Vegas Resort. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
Red Rock Golf Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Marriott Shadow Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Residence Inn Marriott . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Michelob Ultra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
The Revere Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Miura Golf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Royal Links Golf Club . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
Mizuno. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Semiahmoo Resort & Spa. . . . . . . . . . . 15
Mt. Si Golf Course. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
SilverRock Resort. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
Muckleshoot Casino . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Suncoast Hotel & Casino. . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Odyssey Backstryke. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Syncmor Putters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Oki Golf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Tattoo Golf. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
PING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
TaylorMade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Pro Active Sports. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18-19
Twin Lakes Golf & Country Club. . . . . . 35
Bali Hai Golf Resort is a South Pacific paradise on the Vegas Strip. PAGE 38 Courtesy of Walters Golf • Cover design by Robert Becker
DECEMBER 2010 2010
Thanks For Making 2010 Our Best Year Yet
nother year in the books showcases the dedication of our readers and the class act Puetz Golf team. I have to admit, this has been my favorite year since we started this title four years ago. Why? Well, we had some pretty intriguing things to write about, first of all. This past summer, with the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee, the U.S. Amateur at Chambers Bay and The Home Course and the Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, we had a trifecta of golf tournaments right here at home that we may never see again in our lifetime. I loved that Puget Sound got to take center stage — and that we got to play a small part in its success by promoting and covering these events for 106,000 folks that read Cascade Golfer. I also enjoyed our first-ever Cascade Golfer Cup tournament series, and the Rose City Fall Golf Classic. What a blast it was to see over 500 golfers and teams at some of the finest public venues in the area playing for the love of the game — and some pretty amazing prizes. We set out to host tournaments where the average golfer could be treated to something a little different. Our tournament production team of Simon Dubiel and Katie De La Maza made this happen for us — and for you — and were real road warriors. We’re planning to make next
year’s events even better, so stay tuned. It was also a year where we strived to focus on value in an ever-changing economy and pastime. With our partners and teammates at Puetz Golf, we had our largest array of editorial, specials, sales, promotions, product reviews, travel, in-market features and prize sweepstakes we have ever offered. We want to and need to — you deserve it. This magazine is not just about “all the news that’s fit to print.” It’s about connection, education and keeping golf fun. I want to personally thank David Puetz, Mike Livingtson and Randy Russell at Puetz Golf for their vision and guidance this year in making each issue something Puetz customers can look forward to, with pages and pages of membership and equipment offerings. And lastly, I want to thank our CG team of Kirk Tourtillotte, Rob Becker, Heather Flyte, John Kimball, David Stolber, Bobbi Kramer, Pam Van den Heuvel and our editor Brian Beaky. This team is committed to this title and works hundreds of hours to make sure you are stimulated and satisfied. We are excited about 2011 and we will be waiting for you on the other side. Enjoy your winter game, stay dry and TAKE IT EASY!
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The Super Men
DEAR GOES DIGITAL
Dear Goes Digital
ver since May 1, Bellingham golfers have been receiving more golf-related news and information than ever on their golf-rich little corner of the state. That was the date that our own Tony Dear — CG writer, published author and pretty darn impressive golfer — launched BellinghamGolfer.com, an all-new site devoted to promoting Bellingham’s outstanding public courses and creating an online community for the area’s many golfers. A native of Sussex, England, Dear relocated to Bellingham in 2004 and was immediately impressed with the quality and variety of the city’s public tracks. With the help of a California-based web designer, doit-yourself software and a handful of local teaching professionals, Dear launched the new site this spring, incorporating specialized video instruction from area pros, course and equipment reviews, local golf news and a blog on all things golf with the insight and wit that have made Dear’s stories a hit with CG readers. Dear has also posted a handful of travel features from his years spent writing for national and international golf publications, though he says the site’s priority remains local. “Any Bellingham news is No. 1,” says Dear, who joined the men’s club at Lake Padden Golf Course to help stay in touch with the local golf community. “But I also try to incorporate items that I think might be of interest to a Bellingham-area golfer.” Apparently, it’s working. Dear says that the site received over 6,000 hits in its first three months — a wildly successful debut for a niche website in an impossibly large Internet marketplace, with little to no marketing beyond Twitter, Facebook and a handful of mentions on local golf blogs. “I’m actually very pleased with how it’s going,” Dear says. “The feedback on the site has been very encouraging, which means a lot because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and have put a lot of myself into. I’m certainly going to keep doing it and I hope people will want to keep reading it.”
As winter approaches, superintendents on both sides of the mountains are pulling out all their tricks to make sure our favorite courses emerge in tip-top shape next spring
BY TONY DEAR
cott McBeath is so busy he can’t possibly come to the phone right now. In fact, you may not get a hold of him for two or three more days. The head superintendent at Lake Padden GC in Bellingham is repairing a clogged sinkhole on the 8th fairway, and then he’ll start preparing his course for winter. That’s when he’ll be really busy. Knowing how cold, wet and miserable a Bellingham winter can be, McBeath has been working overtime for weeks to ensure the town’s revered municipal not only survives the worst of the weather, but comes out the other side looking and playing its glorious best.
McBeath typically starts preparing Lake Padden for winter’s arrival at the start of October, when the greens are aerified, bunker edges trimmed and cart paths tidied up. “We punch the greens a little later than most courses in the area…because we’re a municipal, so [we] need to remain open and playable as much as possible.” He adds calcium, potassium and organic material to the soil to stimulate microbial activity before the rain appears and temperatures start falling. And while the needle drops below freezing an average of only six days a year in Bellingham, McBeath is still wary of the
TO THE WINNERS OF AUGUST’S CASCADE GOLFER ENTER-TO-WINS: Twosomes to Sudden Valley, North Bellingham, Kahler Glen Matt Wudi • Monroe Twosomes to Battle Creek, Snohomish, Cedarcrest, Wayne Michael Golka • Bothell
Didn’t win in August? Don’t worry! There are plenty more chances to take home great prizes in this issue of Cascade Golfer! Swing Evaluation from GolfTEC • Page 11
Twosomes to Alderbrook, North Shore, Riverside Mark Shagren • Tacoma
Las Vegas Golf Getaway • Page 45 Stay and Play to Rancho Las Palmas • Page 48
Cobra Driver Mike Woliski • Bothell
Palm Springs Weeklong Stay-and-Play • Page 52
problem frozen pipes can cause. “By November 1st (give or take), we evacuate all the irrigation mainlines and laterals and shut down the course’s pump station,” he says. But it’s not as if McBeath and his team shut down with it. “We still need to mow whenever possible, but we raise the mower blades, which helps prevent moss,” he says. “And then we have to be wary of pink snow mold.” Despite the name, the pink snow mold pathogen does not need a covering of snow to do its worst. For a green’s surface to remain so, the mold obviously needs to be removed. That will be harder to do this year as the main weapon in the fight against it — the organochlorine fungicide Pentachloronitrobenzene (thankfully better known in superintendent circles as PCNB) — was taken off the shelves in August by the Environmental Protection Agency. “It will be tricky for most of us,” says McBeath. “We’ll just have to experiment with alternative products this year.” Though snow mold is a common problem throughout Western Washington, Chambers Bay tends to avoid it every year, its fine fescue turf far less susceptible. “I might only treat the greens twice a year while other courses in the region tend to treat all their mown areas five or six times,” says head superintendent David Wienecke, who uses two pounds per 1,000 sq. feet of a slow-release fertilizer in an attempt to maintain a little vigor in the turf. But though the fescue may be relatively drought-resistant, and whatever snow mold it does pick up will grow out fairly rapidly, it does come with its own set of problems, most notably a dislike of extreme temperatures. The temperature range in which Chambers’ fescue thrives is rather narrow — between 50 and 75 degrees. “Outside of that, the grass can go dormant,” says Wienecke. “And when the temperature underground gets
below 32 degrees, it stops growing roots. So I need to cultivate the soil, increase porosity and put sand down to stop the turf from losing its firmness.” Measures such as those taken by McBeath and Wienecke allow their courses to remain open for most of the winter (Chambers Bay had about five frost days last year when the course was closed until mid-morning), but no amount of sand, nitrogen, calcium or potassium will enable Todd Lupkes to keep Palouse Ridge in Pullman open during the bleak mid-winter. “Some parts of Eastern Washington actually aren’t that dissimilar to Western Washington, climate-wise,” Lupkes says. “Courses in those areas — around the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla — have similar maintenance routines and it’s usually mild enough for them to remain open. But in Pullman, the ground freezes for two months or more and the grass goes into full dormancy.” Following an application of fungicide in mid-November, Lupkes will cover the greens with a half-inch-thick seam of sand after the course does eventually close at the end of the month. “The sand helps protect the crowns of the plants from drying out when it gets really cold, like zero degrees,” says Lupkes. “By spring, the sand has either blown away or moved into the soil and we can hand-mow the greens to get them back into shape.” Washington’s golf courses face a smorgasbord of potential threats over the winter months. But don’t worry; they are in good hands. Tony Dear is an award-winning author and golf writer. His new website, BellinghamGolfer.com, is a fun and useful resource for golfers in, or planning to visit, the Bellingham area.
Good Things Come in Threes
n golf, three is almost always a good thing — whether a par-3, par-4, or par-5, you’re never too upset to put a three on the scorecard. At GolfTEC, home to the country’s leading indoor instructional golf facilities, “three” is the number of the year, with a third Puget Sound location opening this fall. The all-new Southcenter location, at 406 Baker Blvd., joins GolfTEC’s existing Bellevue and South Lake Union stores to give GolfTEC devotees convenient access to the company’s proven path and proven results, no matter where they live in the Puget Sound region. The facility features improved technology in every hitting bay, with new wireless sensor units, Vector launch monitors and plasma screens. All that technology will be complemented by swing coaches Jordan Cooper, a two-year veteran of GolfTEC Bellevue, and Lyndon Bystrom, a PGA professional and former head professional at Andover Golf Course in Kentucky. With the recent closing of Southcenter Golf, a driving range located just south of the mall, GolfTEC will be a welcome addition. There’s no better time than the winter to work on your game, so visit golftec.com/seattle or call 206-577-3500 to schedule an initial swing evaluation. In fact, GolfTec is so confident in their ability to help improve your game — regardless of your age or ability — THAT THEY’RE GIVING ONE LUCKY READER A FREE SWING EVALUATION — A $175 VALUE! Enter-to-win today at cascadegolfer.com!
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2010 Cascade Golfer Cup Winners Crowned
t was a good year for Todd Roney and Byron Rich. But then, it was a good year for just about everyone who played in the 2010 Cascade Golfer Cup, our first-ever sixevent tournament series that awarded 148 team prizes and 42 individual prizes totaling over $100,000. Heck, that’s more than the winning prize at most PGA Nationwide Tour events. Roney and Rich backed up a victory in the Cupopening Michelob ULTRA Open at Chambers Bay with
four more top-20 finishes in the last five events, earning enough points to be crowned the first-ever Cascade Golfer Cup champions. For their efforts, the pair was rewarded with the 2011 Summer Golf Package — over 25 twosomes to some of the Northwest’s premier tracks, including Bear Mountain Ranch, Sahalee and others. Oh, and that’s in addition to the five-night Hawaii stay-and-play they won for their secondplace finish at the KJR Sportsradio Scramble, and the tickets to the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach they won for their victory at Chambers. Not a bad haul for a couple of weekend warriors. In all, over 400 players participated in the Cup, taking home the aforementioned prizes, plus a set of custom-fit clubs from the Callaway Golf Performance Center in San Diego; an eight-night Maui golf getaway and a five-night Bay Area golf package; plus six stay-and-play packages to Central Oregon; six to Reno-Tahoe; four to Las Vegas; four to Hawaii; four to Mesquite, Nev.; two to Chelan and another to the Oregon coast. We also gave away rounds of golf to Pumpkin Ridge, The Reserve and Vineyards, Wine Valley, Washington National, Newcastle, Harbour Pointe, Kayak Point,
McCormick Woods, Gold Mountain, Druids Glen, The Classic, Mt. Si, Willows Run, Leavenworth, Snohomish, Battle Creek, Carnation and Meadow Park, as well as literally dozens of putters, drivers, hybrids, lesson packages, golf bags, pull carts, tickets to the U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and Boeing Classic, sleeves of balls and more. We also made our first foray south of the border with a two-event series at Pumpkin Ridge and The Reserve called the Rose City Fall Golf Classic, where another two dozen equally incredible prizes were awarded. It was fun to have a chance to meet our readers, and we’re excited to take your feedback to make Cascade Golfer and the Cascade Golfer Cup even better in 2011 than they were in 2010. We’ll see you on the tee. Want to be the first to know about dates, locations and prizes for the 2011 Cascade Golfer Cup? Contact Tournament Coordinator Simon Dubiel at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 367-2420, x1236, to join our e-mail list today!
Tattoo Goes Pro
TEAM Alex Prugh
wo PGA Champions Tour events, a U.S. Amateur, and the almost-triumphant return of Seattle’s favorite son. Not to mention a combined 11 top-10s on the PGA Tour, three Champions Tour wins and over $6 million in combined earnings. Yeah, it’s been a pretty good year for the local pro golf scene. Former Husky and PGA Tour rookie Alex Prugh was the surprise of the year on the PGA Tour, earning four top-10s, qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs and placing second at October’s Frys.com Open. All told, Prugh earned a robust $1.27 million in 2010 to place 73rd on the money list — just ahead of such notables as Angel Cabrera, Vijah Singh and Davis Love III. Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, meanwhile, had the breakout season many expected he would after earning his first
win in late 2009. Moore’s seven top-10s included a ninth-place finish in the prestigious Tour Championship, while a tie for 14th at the Masters helped place Moore 30th on the final Tour money list, with over $2.3 million in earnings. Of course, at least locally, the year belonged to Boom-Boom, who not only dominated the Champions Tour in his first eligible season — winning four times, placing second at the Senior PGA Championship, second at the U.S. Senior Open at Sahalee, and third at the Boeing Classic — but he also proved he could still play with the young guys, too, thrilling fans with a sixthplace finish at The Masters. So we say so long to 2010 — 2011, you’ve got a tough act to follow.
e’ve long lauded Tattoo Golf’s antiestablishment attire, including golf shirts, hats, sweaters and more mixing traditional argyle patterns with skull-and-bones imagery and other designs more commonly inked on the back of a biker than worn on a golf course. Now we finally get to find out what happens when “anti-establishment” goes mainstream. Ashley Prange, winner of 2006’s Big Break V: Hawaii and the older sister of former University of Washington golfer Amber Prange (CG, April ’08), agreed recently to begin wearing Tattoo apparel during competitive rounds. A two-time winner on the Duramed Futures Tour and an LPGA Tour veteran, Prange hopes Tattoo’s unique attire will give her added confidence as she launches into her seventh season on the Futures Tour, where she has already racked up an impressive 19 top-10 finishes, including two in the final seven events of the 2010 campaign.
SHORT GAME Take your game indoors
’ve been playing golf for over 20 years, and it’s taken me that long to finally come to a conclusion: I’m tired of being bad. So, I’ve decided to dedicate myself this winter to finally developing that consistent stroke that I’ve always lacked. I’ve been playing well this summer, and now having had a taste of the good life, I don’t ever want to go back. A few years ago, we wrote a story on local pro Gregg Rogers, who combines knowledgeable professionals and fitness experts with the latest in swing-analysis technology at the Gregg Rogers Golf Performance Center in Bellevue. Rogers’ process includes motion-capture sensors, hightech cameras and computer renderings, all combined with years of hands-on experience both as a high-level player and a golf instructor. So, this October I handed my game over to Rogers for the next six months. From now through March, I’m staying off the course and focusing my attention inward — on my swing, my mental preparation and my fitness. TPI-certified fitness professional Christopher Vogt is helping with my flexibility and range of motion, while Rogers goes where
no man has dared to go before — into the strange, scary world of my golf swing. My first session was largely introductory: Vogt put me through some basic range-ofmotion tests, and Rogers checked out my equipment and asked a litany of questions about my game — what do my shots do, what are the strengths and weaknesses in my game (one list was a lot longer than the other), and most importantly, what do I hope to accomplish from the lessons (consistency). After just 45 minutes with Rogers — which included hitting balls on the launch monitor and strapping into the motion-capture system, providing immediate feedback on weight shift, swing speed, swing path and much more — shots that had been flying off the toe or slicing wildly away were instead soaring far and straight. Rogers had simply adjusted my stance and lower body posture, and changed the angle of my takeaway. Most telling, though? It felt “right.” Every swing felt a thousand times better than the awkward, inconsistent
motion I have become used to. It felt so good, in fact, that I broke my new all-training rule and went out to the course — and proceeded to nail every iron right down the middle and score 10 strokes better than I had on the same course in May. Yeah, I’m up for five more months of this. I went in as a 20 handicap — good enough to not embarrass myself in most situations, and to make the occasional birdie, but not so good as to always take a three-figure score out of play. If you’re looking for me before next spring, though, don’t check the courses. I’ve seen where the future of my golf game lies, and for at least the next few months, I’m keeping my swing indoors.
EXTRA 2010 Cascade Golfer
HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS Not sure what to get the golfer in your life this holiday season (or what to get yourself)? Here are a few items we’d be thrilled to see in our stocking.
MIURA GOLF BABY BLADES
KIKKOR GOLF RETRO BREATHE LIMITED EDITION HUSKY SHOES
$109 | kikkor.com
Katsuhiro Miura doesn’t care about fads. As major manufacturers churn out thin-faced, oversized irons marketed as “game improvement,” Miura – one of the most respected iron makers in the industry — released a Limited-Edition Small Blade forged iron. The head on the “Baby Blades” are 15 percent smaller and the face slightly thicker than on Miura’s lauded Tournament Blades, while Miura’s forging process creates an ultrasmooth surface with tight tolerances, maximizing feel and precision to give single-digit and mid-handicappers alike the specific, immediate feedback they need to better their game.
The perfect gift for the golf-playing Husky fan in your family, Kikkor Golf’s Retro Breathe Limited Edition Husky shoes aren’t just Husky in color — they’re made by a Husky, too. Four years after beating Michael Putnam in a playoff to win the 2005 NCAA Championship, former University of Washington golfer James Lepp took a break from pro golf to launch his own line of comfortable, hip, golf shoes called Kikkor Golf. The purple-and-gold kicks are just one of nearly two dozen stylish offerings in the Kikkor line — and at a special price of just $109 for CG readers (a nearly 30-percent discount), it’s a holiday gift sure to please any die-hard Dawg.
PRODIGY GOLF PUTTERS
SYNCMOR PUTTER $179.95 | syncmor.com
It’s no secret that the trick to a consistent putting stroke is developing that perfect pendulum motion — but a pendulum works by hanging from a stable apex, and as anyone who has tried to keep their hands still during a putt can attest, it’s a lot easier said than done. The Syncmor putter, however, could be the solution. A t-shaped bar at the top of the handle allows the putter to hang gently and stably from your top hand — just as a clock pendulum would — as your bottom hand easily and consistently guides the putter through the target zone. The handle is adjustable to your specific grip, and the natural pendulum motion keeps the clubhead square and the speed consistent, making for a simple, repeatable motion.
Starting at $24.99 | efxusa.com
2-in-1: $259 (reg. $299) Advanced Training System: $359 (reg. $399) prodigyputter.com
One of several EFX products that incorporate the same technology, the EFX wristband uses holographic technology to “harmonize the body’s naturally occurring bioelectric frequencies,” resulting in better balance and strength, increased focus, relief of tension and increased flexibility, all key to a successful round. Now, it’s natural to be skeptical of something you can’t see, feel or measure. I was, too — until I first put on an EFX Silicone Sport Wristband in 2009. Immediately, my balance and flexibility were improved, and my mind just felt … clearer. I’ve since kept one in my golf bag and wear it for every round. And for just $24.99, it’s a lot cheaper than joining a gym.
We’re glad to know that someone actually reads what we write – according to Mike Lee at Kirkland-based Prodigy putters, the phone has been ringing off the hook since our August 2010 article, introducing the revolutionary new training system, was published. So much so, in fact, that Lee wants to thank CG readers by offering a holiday special on both the Prodigy 2-in-1 — a single-shafted version that comes with both the mirror and mallet attachments for training and competition — and the complete Prodigy Advanced Training System, with two individually shafted putters for practice and play. Using adjustable weights, levels, mirrors, an alignment aid — even a distance gauge — it’ll get your putting dialed in just in time for spring.
IN THE BAG REVIEWS
BROUGHT TO YOU BY PUETZ GOLF SUPERSTORES
and equipment news you can use
A NEW APPROACH
BY BRIAN BEAKY CG EDITOR
s a bogey golfer, I approach a par-4 with pretty much the same general plan — keep the driver in play, put an iron close to the green, then chip on and, at worst, two-putt. Should I manage to get up and down or, by the grace of the golfing gods, to actually put my approach on the green? Pure gravy — I don’t expect it, I don’t need it, but I’ll take it. That’s one of the biggest differences between a bogey golfer and a scratch golfer — whereas I’m thrilled to see my approach land anywhere on the green, a scratch golfer is disappointed if he’s not spinning it to a stop 10 feet below the hole. That difference in approach highlights a significant difference in, well — approach. While a bogey golfer can generally hold his or her own on the tee and green with a scratch golfer, a scratch golfer is typically much more accurate with their irons. It makes sense — similar to how tire manufacturers always say, “there’s only one part of your car that actually touches the road,” there’s only one type of club with which you are usually trying to reach a green in regulation — your irons. Whether a par-3, a par-4 or a par-5, your final and most critical approach shot is most likely being taken with an iron. So while it’s certainly worthwhile to work on keeping the driver in play (beyond just setting you up for a higherpercentage approach shot, it’s the one time on each hole that all of your buddies are watching you hit), developing confidence and consistency in your iron play can have a significant impact on your score. Not only will you simply hit more greens, doing so will help you avoid skulling a chip or chunking a bunker shot, while also cutting down on the number of strokes you take on the green. It’s an improvement in one area of your game that can have an impact on nearly every other shot that follows. This fall, nearly all of the major manufacturers have come out with new iron lines specifically designed to help you do just that — whether a bogey golfer, a scratch golfer, or somewhere in that good-but-could-be-oh-so-much-better range in between. We’ve picked out some of our favorites for each type of golfer, and mixed in a few other new products that we think can help improve your game in time for the sunshine’s glorious return next spring. After all, you can practice those bunker shots and work on those lag putts all you want … but it sure does feel better to stare down a 12-footer for birdie than a 20-footer for par.
TaylorMade Burner 2.0 PUETZ GOLF PRICE $699.95 (8-piece steel)
or the past few years, TaylorMade has ruled the manufacturing world. Not only are their Burner, R7 and R9 lines among the hottest-selling game-improvement clubs in history, the Tour versions of those same clubs are winning millions for their players, from Ryder Cup stars like Martin Kaymer and Dustin Johnson to multi-winners in 2010 Justin Rose and Paula Creamer. It’s exciting, therefore, to hear that TaylorMade’s newest irons — the Burner 2.0 — are outperforming every other iron on the market … including TaylorMade’s own popular and successful offerings. Unique to the Burner 2.0 line is that each iron has been individually designed to do a specific job. The shaft on each is specific to the clubhead, with different kick-points in each to maximize the desired performance of that club — maximum distance on the long irons, greater distance control on the short irons — while the heads themselves vary in thickness to meet the same shot-specific demands. Fans of the original Burner will appreciate the new composite material in the cavity back, which dampens more of the vibration while improving the sound the ball makes at impact. Of course, what’s most important is distance — the Burner 2.0 has been testing up to 20 yards longer per club than its predecessor — and control, maximized through the same Inverted Cone Technology and other high-MOI advances that have made TaylorMade’s irons so successful over the past five years. In fact, the Burner 2.0 is proving so popular that it may not be long before we look back at the original Burner as merely a first step in a new direction — the DOS to the 2.0’s Vista. We know one thing — our game could certainly use the upgrade.
IN THE BAG Mizuno JPX-800 PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $699.95 (8-piece set)
izuno has a certain reputation in the golf world. When I’m out at a course, and I see a player pull a Mizuno iron out of his bag, I don’t even need to see him hit a single shot to know everything I need to about his game — he’s good. If Callaway’s new Diablo Octane driver is the Lamborghini of the golf world (see page 23), every set of Mizuno irons is a Maserati — notoriously luxurious, rarely seen and universally respected. This year, Mizuno is pleasing its devotees with three new lines of irons — the JPX-800, MP-53 and MP-63. The cast-iron JPX-800 is the Japanese clubmaker’s gift to the midhandicappers, with a cavity back and thin face (utilizing Mizuno’s trademarked “HotMetal” technology) to keep the center of gravity low and maximize distance and forgiveness. Mizuno is marketing them as the most forgiving iron they’ve ever made — a note that even caught the attention of European Ryder Cup champion Luke Donald, a longtime user of Mizuno’s more well-known tour-performance clubs. Having gone winless on the PGA Tour since 2006, Donald recently picked up some JPX-800 irons — and immediately added 17 yards to his six-iron. That’s classic Mizuno, though — even when they try to make a game-improvement iron for us average Joes, Tour players just can’t keep their hands off them.
Mizuno MP-53/MP-63 PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $899.95 (8-piece steel)
n addition to its cast-iron JPX-800, Mizuno has rolled out two new lines in the forged-iron class the company has ruled for much of the last decade. While forged irons are typically tools reserved only for golf’s master craftsmen, Mizuno is marketing the all-new MP-53, which replaces the existing MP-52, as a forged iron that is playable for even a mid-handicapper. That’s because the milled pocket cavity creates the largest sweet spot ever for a Mizuno MP iron, while not sacrificing any of the look, feel or workability preferred by better players. Both the MP-53 and its even-more-workable sibling, the MP-63, use the Diamond Muscle design to mimic the look of a classic blade iron, as well as “harmonic impact technology” to create a perfect sound and feel and give Tour players the instant feedback they desire. The longer irons in the MP-53 line utilize a 360-degree grind to lessen the width of the sole and the top edge, while the shorter irons are nearly indistinguishable from the MP-63s. The two sets are similar enough to be mixed and matched — allowing even Tour pros to take advantage of the increased forgiveness of the MP-53, while still earning the tee cred that comes with swinging a Mizuno forged iron.
IN THE BAG
PING K15 PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $997.95 (Six iron, two-hybrid set)
PING S56 PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $785.95 (7-piece steel)
he entire golf world watched Louis Oosthuizen dominate this year’s British Open with the same thought: “Who the heck is Louis Oosthuizen? And how is he doing that?” Oosthuizen (who writers and editors everywhere thank for not using his given name, Lodewicus Theodorus Oosthuizen) won the British with one of the most dominating performances in a major since Tiger Woods’ 15-stroke U.S. Open win at Pebble in 2000, finishing seven strokes ahead of current world No. 1 Lee Westwood and posting the second-lowest 72-hole score in St. Andrews history. It didn’t take long for golf fans to dig up Oosthuizen’s secret weapon — an as-yet-unreleased line of PING irons, the S56, designed to appeal to players with single-digit handicaps. A tungsten weight has been placed near the toe of the clubs (available in a 2-iron through PW) to match the sweet spot of better golfers, while its size and position become smaller and deeper as you move through the set, promoting higher trajectories in the long irons and a more controlled trajectory in the short irons. Likewise, stabilizing bars in the irons grow wider as the clubs progress, for increased distance in the longer clubs and greater control with the shorter ones. Watching Oosthuizen perfectly place his ball from tee to green around the perilous fairways of St. Andrews is all the testimonial we need to see, though — if they’re good enough to win a Claret Jug, they’re good enough for us.
espite all of PING’s success on the pro circuit — illustrated by Louis Oosthuizen’s aforementioned domination at the British Open with his brand-new PING S56s, you can’t say that the company doesn’t care about the little guy. Just a year after rolling out a brand-new game-improvement line, the G15, PING was atop the market again this fall with the all-new K15, a complete driver-to-sand wedge set designed to replace the popular Rapture line as PING’s premier game-improvement offering — though at a much more wallet-friendly price. Looks-wise, they’re not all that different from the G15 — the black-and-maroon color scheme is almost identical. The differences, however subtle, though, are significant. Starting with the driver and 3-wood, PING has incorporated what it calls “Straight-Flight Technology,” which is achieved largely through the positioning of a weight near the heel of the club that helps keep the clubhead square through the impact zone. A larger clubhead with a thinner top line further increases the MOI, making it even easier to hit long and straight. It’s in the irons where the K15 differs more markedly from its predecessor, replacing the 3- and 4-irons with easier-to-hit hybrids (also available in 5- and 6-irons), while a wider sole on the short irons make it easier to get the ball airborne with high spin from the fairway or rough — one of the biggest difficulties for a midto-high handicapper. And while hitting a hybrid may take some getting used to, those long, straight ball flights certainly won’t.
Callaway Octane Series PUETZ GOLF PRICE Driver $299.95 Fairway Woods $199.95
very once in a while, we hear about a partnership that makes us raise an eyebrow — think Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett, Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco or bacon brownies (OK, I confess — that last one is incredible). So it was that two years ago, when Callaway modeled its FT-iQ driver after the tail end of a Lamborghini, we gave the collaboration its due, and moved on. It turns out, though, that the partnership between the two titans of their industries didn’t end there. This fall, Callaway and Lamborghini announced the collaborative development of an entirely new material — lighter and stronger than anything either company has used before, and destined for immediate development in new drivers … and the toys they like to drive. Fortunately for drivers of our kind, the first such product to hit the market is Callaway’s brand-new Diablo Octane driver and fairway woods. The key material is called “Forged Composite,” a carbon-based substance that is one-third the weight of titanium (and can actually be seen through a small window in the club’s sole), allowing for more weight to be moved away from the face and increasing the club’s MOI. It also makes the clubhead lightning-fast, a fact Callaway has further exploited by using 46-inch shafts, instead of the traditional 45 ½ — just as you don’t buy a Lamborghini to shuttle the kids to day care, you don’t buy a Diablo Octane merely to get around the course. You buy it to make a statement — “Sit down, shut up and hold on — this baby’s going for a long, fast ride.”
IN THE BAG OGIO Ultralite Performance Series PUETZ GOLF PRICE Starting at $169.95
t takes a lot to turn heads with a new golf bag. I mean, a bag looks nice, but at the end of the day, it’s just a bag. At least, that what we’ve always thought. OGIO, however, is doing its best this year to disprove that notion, with the release of three new golf bag lines — the Helios, the Velocity and the smartly named Assassin. Each are among the lightest and most durable bags on the market — and perhaps most importantly, they look pretty darn cool strapped to your back, or just propped up next to the pro shop. The Assassin is the lone cart bag of the three, with a 14-way divider top and enough pockets to handle all your must-haves at the course, from balls, tees and pencils, to umbrellas, rain gear, water bottles and more. An additional snazzy feature is a three-ball “silo” on the bag’s exterior, making it easy to reload quickly when your drive sails off into the nether regions of O.B. Of the carry bags, the Velocity boasts a slightly larger capacity, with a sevenway opening and eight pockets to the Helios’ six-way top and seven pockets, while both benefit from OGIO’s trademark O-Shox suspension straps and an air-flow system specifically designed to keep your upper back cool and dry even on the warmest of days. All three bags are made to last from durable, rip-stop materials, and each weigh in well below five pounds, with the cart-bag Assassin at 4.6 lbs, the Velocity at 3.6 and the slightly smaller Helios at 3.3.
PING Faith Women’s Set PUETZ GOLF PRICE
Tiger Shark Power Pod II PUETZ GOLF PRICE
n all likelihood, you’ve never heard of Jim Flood. But few individuals have had as significant an impact on the golf manufacturing world over the past 50 years. In 1972, Flood invented the graphite shaft, making even moderate swingers capable of blasting the ball to prodigious distances. Two decades later, he decided to start making putters and founded a little company called Odyssey Golf, which has merely grown into the world’s leading putter manufacturer. Maybe if we all used Flood shafts or raved about our Flood Putters, he’d be a household name, but Flood has never been one to seek credit for his designs, preferring simply to rock the golf world from behind the scenes. So it is, though, that when Jim Flood says he has a new idea, the golf world takes notice. Flood’s latest development is the Power Pod II driver, an updated version of Flood’s “slice-proof” Power Pod first released more than two decades ago. The 454cc titaniumface driver uses a unique, patent-pending “pod” shape to remove weight from the toe by practically eliminating the toe altogether, creating a high MOI and what Flood and Tiger Shark call “the world’s first true oversized slice-proof driver.” It looks different, for sure, but if there’s one person we’d believe when they claim to have permanently fixed a slice, it’s Jim Flood. After all, those graphite shafts and two-ball putters were once considered “different,” too.
$798.95 (six irons, two hybrids)
hile rolling out new iron sets and game-improvement club lines seemingly every year, and managing a staff of pros that are seemingly winning everything in 2010, PING hasn’t lost sight of the game’s fastest-growing segment … women. The manufacturing giant’s latest release for women is the Faith line, already being hailed by reviewers for how easily they help players with slow swing speeds get the ball up in the air quickly with low spin — the keys to long distance. The set includes 5- and 6-hybrids and six irons — 7-iron, 8-iron, 9-iron, PW, UW and SW — each with a wide sole and deep cavity back to promote highMOI and increased forgiveness. All eight clubs utilize PING’s ultralightweight graphite shafts to further maximize swing speed and power. We’re not quite sure how PING does it, frankly — but as long as they want to keep making clubs that are easier and easier to hit, we’ll keep coming back for more.
RISK vs. REWARD Washington National Golf Club Hole No. 7 • Par 4 • 286 Yards (Blue Tees)
By Simon Dubiel
these are what make this short hole such a wonderful temptation. The seventh at this Northwest favorite can yield birdies, but just as easily leave you mumbling, “How did I just make six?” There are numerous ways to play this hole, and we recommend trying them all.
The Setup: A driveable par-4 with a forced carry over water, a wasteland off to the right and a greenside bunker big enough to get lost in — all of E
4 The Risk: Nobody likes a fairway bunker, and hitting 30- to 50-yard sand shots is about as much fun as betting on the Mariners to win the Par World
232 - 320 YARDS HAnDIcAp - 15
Series. Even less enticing is hitting shots through gaps in trees from a wasteland lie right of the green. Both shots are brought into play if you go the 7th hole is a good hole. If you for the green from the tee. On the flipside, anything from a hybrid to an 8-iron can put you in the middle of the fairway with a wedge inrisk/reward hand and are a long hitter you can challenge the water and go little chance of making a big number — assuming, that is, you don’t miss right and splash it in the drink. straight towards the green.
This will leave a short approach shot that runs away from the players. The more conservative route is to hit down the left side, avoiding the bunkers on the right and the left. This play will leave you a short pitch shot to the green. This hole is a great scoring opportunity if played correctly.
100 Yards Measured From 150 Marker
Yards Measured From the Tee
The Reward: Washington National is no picnic in the park, so when you have the chance to make a move, why fold? Especially coming off the toughest hole on the course, No. 6. With just over 200 yards to clear the water, your chances of getting wet are slim, as long as you hit the big dog.
Final Call: Sure, the easy way out is to pull an iron out of your bag and leave yourself 125 in with your approach. But do you really want to 26
Fresh. Soph. Junior Senior Husky
C 158 192 212 225 246
D 170 204 224 237 258
• 232 Yards Measured From the Tee
• 266 • 254 • 286
9 6 make a bad swing with your iron off the tee and end up wet anyway, when driver all but takes the pond out of play? You don’t get to the3 final 8 table by standing pat. Time to push the chips to the center of the felt. Not only do we recommend hitting the big stick, but for once, driver5 2just 7 4 1 might be the smart play.
• 299 • 320
Fresh. Soph. Junior Senior Husky
A 118 152 172 185 206
B 136 170 190 203 224
• Freshman • Sophomore • Junior • Senior • Husky
PUETZ GOLF SUPERSTORES
THROUGH DEC. 26TH
Tour Preferred Reg. 199.95
S EL L E R
Standard Reg. 159.95
R9 fairway woods
The most advanced fairway wood ever!
Current 2010 Models
Speedline Fast 10
SQ Mach Speed
Burner Rescue HL Reg. 159.95
Diablo Fairway Woods Reg. 199.95
Speedline FAST Reg. 199.95 puetzgolf.com
BEST PAR 3 IN THE STATE
Apple Tree No.17 • Yakima • appletreegolf.com
2010 CASCADE GOLFER
READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS!
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
ew things are more ingrained in the modern American psyche than the need to rank everything — we rank our most liveable cities, the top college football teams … heck, around the offices of Cascade Golfer, we’ve even had heated debates over the best holiday candy (and clearly, it’s mini-Krackel). There’s something satisfying about seeing a clean, ordered list of our favorite, and least favorite, things in almost any category. Of course, every time we’re out on the golf course, we’re constantly updating our rankings — whether it’s the course we’re playing, a great par-3 or a fantastic weekend getaway, the question of “Where does it rank?” is asked on an almost daily basis around the office. Many of those debates make their way into the pages of Cascade Golfer, in the courses we choose to feature and the experiences we recommend. But as much as we enjoy highlighting a great local course that many not otherwise receive the publicity it deserves, or tipping our readers off to a great stay-and-play bargain in Central Washington or Bend, Ore., we decided this year that we want to hear what you think. What courses would you recommend? What tracks are we overlooking? After all, there are just a handful of us, but there are over 100,000 of you — passionate Northwest golfers with opinions to share and — of course — your own rankings to reveal. For the past four months, readers have been logging in to CascadeGolfer.com and voting for their favorite local courses, the most bedeviling par-5s and the courses that simply know how to take care of their customers. In each instance, we’ve featured the top vote-getters, and identified any others who received at least five percent of the readers’ vote. As with any ranking, we’re sure that these lists will prompt ardent debate, so log in to CascadeGolfer.com and let us know what’s what — after all, arguing about a ranking is half the fun of making one in the first place.
TOUGHEST PAR 5 IN THE STATE
Desert Canyon No.6 • Orondo • desertcanyon.com
TO SEE EVEN MORE RESULTS FROM THE 2010 CASCADE GOLFER READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS, VISIT CASCADEGOLFER.COM!
BEST PUGET SOUND VALUE
Gold Mountain (Olympic) • Gorst • goldmt.com
BEST PUGET SOUND COURSE UNDER $50 Gold Mountain (Olympic). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44% Mount Si. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10% Druids Glen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% West Seattle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Eagles Pride. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Kayak Point. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Others (less than 5% each) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18%
Photo by Rob Perry
t’s good to know that we’re not the only ones singing the praises of Gold Mountain’s Olympic course. Tucked on a hillside just five miles from the Bremerton ferry dock, 15 miles from Southworth and 18 miles from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, John Harbottle’s design will hit the national stage when it hosts the U.S. Junior Amateur next summer. Perhaps no course in the state boasts a back nine as memorable, with multiple shots from elevated tees, exquisite use of natural contours and the best three-hole finish around, including the 271-yard (from the blues) risk/reward par-4 18th (at right), one of three holes tied for the honor of the state’s “Best Risk/Reward Hole” (next page). Throw in rates that peak under $50 10 months of the year (and even on a summer weekend, rarely top $60), and it’s easy to see why Gold Mountain is well worth the short hop across the pond.
Eaglemont • Mount Vernon • eaglemontgolf.com
BEST PUGET SOUND DAY TRIP
Prospector at Suncadia • Roslyn • suncadiaresort.com Photo by Rob Perry
ocated just beyond Snoqualmie Pass — not even 90 minutes from Seattle — a day trip (which we define as any course within two hours of Seattle) to Prospector reminds you how lucky we are to live here. Where else can you wake up at 6 a.m.; hit the road at 7; tee off at 9:30; spend the next four-and-a-half hours hitting from elevated tees, breathing the crisp, pine-scented air and marveling at stunning Cascade Mountain scenery; and still be home by 5? Best of all, the course is rarely crowded, giving you plenty of time to appreciate the view from tee at the 393-yard, par-4 10th — without question, one of the top-five most unforgettable vistas in the state. BEST PUGET SOUND DAY TRIP Prospector at Suncadia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32% Semiahmoo/Loomis Trail. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20% Cedars at Dungeness. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12% Port Ludlow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10% Avalon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9% White Horse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9% Others (less than 5% each) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8%
ew courses challenge Washington state golfers like Eaglemont. With a rating of 74.6 and a slope of 143, its back tees are only a hair less challenging than White Horse’s 74.9/144 — and will soon be No. 1 again when White Horse completes planned subtle changes that will dial back its notorious difficulty. Of course, the challenge is what makes it fun — the challenge, and the price. Summer rates peak at just $62, while the course’s offseason “Play All Day” special (now through Apr. 30) of just $57 on weekdays and $62 on weekends (cart included) is one of the best in the state. TOUGHEST COURSE IN THE STATE Eaglemont . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . White Horse. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Harbour Pointe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Chambers Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Loomis Trail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Desert Canyon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Port Ludlow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Others (less than 5% each) . . . . . . . . .
28% 26% 12% 9% 7% 5% 5% 5%
2010 CASCADE GOLFER
READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS!
BEST NORTHWEST HIDDEN GEM
Golf Club at Newcastle
Avalon • Mount Vernon • avalonlinks.com Photo by Rob Perry
hen it came to off-course amenities, Newcastle was king. The Eastside’s premier municipal track was an overwhelming winner in categories of “Best Clubhouse Atmosphere” and “Best Customer Service”, in addition to receiving nods for “Best Course For Women” and “Most Scenic Course.” BEST CLUB ATMOSPHERE Golf Club at Newcastle. . . . . . . . 73% Auburn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10% Golf Club at Redmond Ridge . . . 7% McCormick Woods. . . . . . . . . . . . 6% Other (less than 5% each). . . . . 4%
he Northwest is full of hidden gems, as evidenced by the relatively even spread of votes by CG readers. Coming out on top, however, is Avalon, Robert Muir Graves’ 27-hole bonanza just north of Mount Vernon. It’s location about an hour’s drive from Seattle keeps the fairways blissfully uncluttered, allowing golfers to get the most out of a play-all-day special that plummets as low as $45 during the offseason.
BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE Golf Club at Newcastle. . . . . . . . 68% Mount Si . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12% Gold Mountain. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8% Legion Memorial. . . . . . . . . . . . . 5% Other (less than 5% each). . . . . 7%
BEST NORTHWEST HIDDEN GEM Avalon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23% Bandon Crossings. . . . . . . . . . . . 19% Leavenworth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17% Snohomish. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9% Horn Rapids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9% North Bellingham. . . . . . . . . . . . 5% Others (less than 5% each) . . . 18%
BEST RISK/REWARD HOLE
Trophy Lake • Port Orchard • tropylakegolfclub.com
eaders couldn’t decide between the top-three risk/reward holes in the state, with the 18th holes at Trophy Lake and Gold Mountain, and the par-4 12th at Chambers Bay, each receiving an identical 21 percent of the vote. Since Gold Mountain and Chambers are both winners in other categories however, we’ll use this space to splash a photo of Trophy’s finishing hole — as scenic as it is fun. At 532 yards from the blues or 465 from the whites, it’s likely reachable in two for both the mid- and long-range hitters. The second shot, however, has to carry a creek ferrying water from a waterfall right of the green to a lake running down the entire left side of the fairway. Two well-struck shots, and you’re closing your round in style — one miss and your ball, and your scorecard, will be all wet.
BEST RISK/REWARD HOLE Trophy Lake No. 18. . . . . . . . . . 21% Gold Mountain No. 18. . . . . . . 21% Chambers Bay No. 12. . . . . . . . 21% McCormick Woods No. 5. . . . . 7% Trophy Lake No. 7. . . . . . . . . . . 5% Druids Glen No. 7. . . . . . . . . . . 5% Willows Run Coyote Cr No. 18.5% Kayak Point No. 9. . . . . . . . . . . 5% Others (less than 5% each). . . 10%
Photo by Rob Perry
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BEST DESTINATION COURSE
Palouse Ridge • Pullman • palouseridge.wsu.edu
ith its fun and playable forward tees and easily walkable layout, Auburn Golf Course (above) was among the Best Courses for Women, while its clubhouse ranked second only to Newcastle’s hilltop mansion. Meanwhile, Foster Golf Links was named Most Kid-Friendly by a nearly 3-to-1 margin, ahead of Fred Couples’ childhood stomping grounds at Jefferson Park and the newly opened Little Si Links at Mount Si. BEST COURSE FOR WOMEN Golf Club at Newcastle. . . . . . . . 56% Auburn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21% Apple Tree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Jefferson Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5% Other (less than 5% each). . . . . 11% MOST KID-FRIENDLY COURSE Foster Golf Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50% Jefferson Park . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17% Little Si at Mount Si. . . . . . . . . . . 14% Lynnwood . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Interbay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5% Other (less than 5% each). . . . . 7%
ur readers had a tough time picking their favorite destination course (more than two hours from Seattle) — a testament to our state’s abundance of incredible tracks. In the closest vote of the year, however, it was Palouse Ridge — Washington State University’s new course in Pullman — narrowly edging Desert Canyon, Apple Tree and Bear Mountain Ranch for top honors. “We’re excited to know that Puget Sound golfers are thinking about Palouse Ridge when they’re considering golf destinations,” said GM Tyler Jones upon hearing the news. “It’s definitely worth the trip over the mountains.” Indeed it is — the second John Harbottle design to earn our readers’ top honor, Palouse is big, brawny golf at its best — windswept fairways surrounded by long native grasses, with each hole presenting multiple means of approach and an abundance of bumpand-run options. Make it a long weekend and play Idaho’s Circling Raven (about an hour away) as well, and you’ll have a memory to last a lifetime. BEST DESTINATION COURSE Palouse Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24% Desert Canyon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23% Apple Tree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19% Bear Mountain Ranch . . . . . . . . 18% Bandon Dunes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Circling Raven . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5% Others (less than 5% each). . . 4%
Port Ludlow Golf Club Chambers Bay • No. 14
T BEST NORTHWEST GOLF REGION Kitsap/Olympic Peninsula
quick glance back through our readers’ votes makes it easy to see why the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula rank as their favorite Northwest golf region. With wins in Best Value and Best Risk/Reward Hole, top-five finishes in Most Scenic, Toughest, Best Customer Service, Best Clubhouse and four of the top-seven Best Day Trips, Cascade Golfer readers sent a clear message to Peninsula courses — keep up the good work. Ask us, and it’s all about value: the region’s top six tracks — Port Ludlow (above), Gold Mountain (Olympic and Cascade), Cedars at Dungeness, White Horse, McCormick Woods and Trophy Lake (not to mention Horseshoe Lake, Alderbrook and others) — average a peak-season greens fee of $55 that can’t be beat by any other region of equal quality. BEST NORTHWEST GOLF REGION Kitsap/Olympic Peninsula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52% Bend/Central Oregon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21% Eastern WA/Idaho . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17% Whatcom County. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6% Central Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4%
Photo by Rob Perry
here’s no question what course has left the most memorable impression on CG readers — Chambers Bay, site of this year’s U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open, was ranked No. 1 among Washington’s Most Scenic Course, as well as the one course every CG reader should have on their bucket list. Not that we’re surprised — after all, with views of the Olympic Mountains behind a sun-dappled Puget Sound, seals frolicking off the coastline below and a true links golf experience like no other in the Northwest, playing Chambers Bay is about as close as a golfer can come to heaven on earth. MOST SCENIC WASHINGTON COURSE Chambers Bay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40% Newcastle – Coal Creek . . . . . . . 23% Bear Mountain Ranch . . . . . . . . . 21% Port Ludlow. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7% Others (less than 5% each). . . . 2% WA STATE “BUCKET LIST” ROUND Chambers Bay. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31% Gold Mountain Olympic . . . . . . . 18% Washington National. . . . . . . . . . 10% Palouse Ridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9% Others (less than 5% each). . . . 9%
When it comes to golfing in the city that never sleeps,
BY BRIAN BEAKY • CG EDITOR
For over 10,000 years, people largely ignored Las Vegas. Then came Bugsy Siegel.
course architects Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley had over 2,500 palm trees, 100,000 tropical plants and countless pounds of black volcanic rocks shipped in from the South Pacific, adding color and character to a course that is as fun to play as it is beautiful to look at. In addition to the eye candy, Bali Hai lives up to its Strip address in the off-course he legendary mobster built the first of Las Vegas’ luxury casino hotels — The amenities designed to make every golfer feel like a king, from the massive tank filled Flamingo — in 1946, setting off a development explosion that has turned with rare tropical fish as you enter, to professional forecaddies available for every Las Vegas from a way station on the trail to California gold country, into one of the group (including the uniquely Vegas, sexy ParMates), to the high-end Cili restaurant most-visited destinations in the world. Of course, Siegel never lived to see it — the and its Polynesian-influenced cuisine. Suffice to say, if you want to tee it up in the Flamingo’s opening was a failure in 1946, and his … uh, “investors” … expressed their morning, and be hitting the craps table at the Mandalay Bay by lunchtime, roll the dice on a round at Bali Hai — it’s one bet you won’t regret. dissatisfaction shortly thereafter. Just off The Strip’s northern end is another themed course — though one that takes For those of us more comfortable with a TaylorMade than a Tommy gun, the upshot of all that investment into the city’s tourism market has been the development you closer to home. Desert Pines Golf Club is less about opulence and more about of dozens of world-class golf courses. Now, when it comes to playing the tables, we simplicity, replicating the look, style and feel of the courses in Georgia and South prefer to place our bets in games where the house advantage is at its slimmest – after Carolina that birthed the American professional game. Photos of Walter Hagen, Francis all, you come to Vegas for the thrill of betting the house, but you don’t actually want to Ouimet, Bobby Jones and Gene Sarazen greet golfers in the lobby, while pine trees — lose it. To that end, we’ve tipped the odds in your favor by tracking down some of the not palm trees — line impeccable fairways that lead towards Augusta-quality greens. Royal Links, meanwhile, would look just as appropriate on the shores of the North best golf deals in and around the city, from the full-service resorts where you can feel like a real high roller, to courses that (like the Strip casinos) will transport you around Sea as it does in its location eight miles east of The Strip — in fact, anyone who has paid a visit to past British Open sites may get a sense of déjà vu from the 18 holes at Royal the globe, to the tracks only the locals know – and love. Best of all? This is the one playing system in Vegas that won’t get you thrown out Links. That’s because each of the course’s holes are inspired by the most famous holes at 11 of the courses in the Open rotation, including Royal Troon’s “Postage Stamp” of town – and unlike Bugsy, you’re guaranteed to come out on top. (complete with 16-yard green) and St. Andrew’s “Road Hole” (authentic stone wall and here are enough courses in Vegas to keep you golfing 24-7 — only at Bali Hai, all), as well as holes inspired by Prestwick, Royal Liverpool, Royal Birkdale, Muirfield, Turnberry, Carnoustie and other legendary tracks. however, might you be able to get enough The homage to the British Isles continues off the ambient light from the nearby Strip hotels to course as well, with a clubhouse you’d swear was a pull off that impressive feat. 17th-century Scottish castle (page 42). It’s a total Located on the south end of The Strip, with the Suncoast Hotel and Casino immersion in the slow-paced, grass-roots links golf gold-toned windows of the Mandalay Bay looming high experience — which makes it a total trip to glance west above the course, Bali Hai (pictured on the cover of this and see The Strip gleaming in all its decadent glory just magazine) is every bit as opulent and dramatic as any a few minutes away. Strip property. To complete its Pacific islands theme,
2010 Cascade Golfer Winter Wonderlands
Arroyo Golf Club • No. 18
Siena Golf Club • No. 17 cascadegolfer.com
Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort / Southshore CC DECEMBER 2010
2010 Cascade Golfer Winter Wonderlands
Bali Hai Golf Resort
Desert Pines • No. 9
hile playing a themed golf course is the ultimate Las Vegas golf experience (I mean, if you’re going to spend your nights in a pyramid, a New York City skyscraper or the Eiffel Tower, you might as well spend your days in Fiji, Scotland and the Carolinas) to really save on golf and lodging during your Vegas vacation, your best bet is to stay somewhere off-Strip – which, in the case of the Suncoast Hotel and Casino, is no problem. The modern hotel and casino offers a free shuttle service to The Strip from 8 a.m. to midnight every day from its location in the upscale Summerlin neighborhood, just 20 minutes northwest of the towering mega-casinos. Of course, once you check in at the Suncoast, there’s hardly any reason to leave. The property covers everything from tee shots to jackpots, including a massive in-house casino, movie theaters, bowling and award-winning fine dining, a fullservice spa for non-golfers – even a state-of-the-art video arcade for the kids (and kids-at-heart) to enjoy. “Everything Las Vegas offers, we have,” says guest services manager Doug Chalmers. Everything, that is, except the potential to bleed you dry. In fact, a night’s stay at the Suncoast — including access to all of the above, plus a round of golf at one of four top local courses — can be had for as little as $69 a night. Even the peak season rate of $129 is a nearly 50 percent savings over the list price for the hotel and golf,
bought separately. Suncoast’s golf partners are no coolers, either. Angel Park Golf Course, located just a nine iron from the Suncoast’s back door, is the gourmet buffet of Vegas golf experiences — two award-winning, Arnold Palmerdesigned 18 hole courses, a par-3 course, a nine-hole putting course, a full practice facility and a large restaurant with a scenic patio overlooking the course below and the towering Spring Mountains above. Nine of the par3 course’s 12 holes are lighted, meaning you can keep knocking them stiff well into the night — a nice treat for a Northwest golfer used to putting the clubs back in the trunk at 4 p.m. on a winter evening. The par-70 Palm Course challenges golfers off the tee with long par-3s and bunker-protected landing areas, while the par-71 Mountain Course uses elevated and uneven greens to reward strong iron players. Both are fun to play, and provide good variety for golfers of all skill levels. After stuffing yourself with golf goodness at Angel Park, head to the other side of the casino to enjoy Badlands Golf Club, a rugged, 27-hole desert complex that winds up, down and around the native arroyos to give an odd feeling of seclusion to a golfer who is, in reality, within 20 minutes of the most developed 4.2 miles on the planet. A collaboration of ultra-conservative Johnny Miller and wildly expressive Chi Chi Rodriguez, the Badlands requires an even mix of Miller’s precision
Royal Links • No. 9
and Chi Chi’s creative flair to master — though with a staggering slope of 155 from the 6,900-yard back tees on the original (and most commonly played) 18, mere survival is probably a better goal. Also partnering with the Suncoast are Siena Golf Club and The Arroyo Golf Club. The two complement each other well: Siena, located a few miles south of the Suncoast, is one of Nevada’s premier resort-style courses, with large spongy fairways, white-sand bunkers and enough flowers and palm trees to make you forget that you’re essentially in the middle of the desert. It’s complemented by its sister course, The Arroyo, a public
Royal Links • No. 8
track at the otherwise private Red Rock Country Club, tucked against the foothills of those colorful Spring Mountains. A renovation earlier this decade of the original Arnold Palmer design returned 40 acres to the surrounding desert, creating savings on irrigation that have been passed on to golfers in lower greens fees, while also creating a more authentic desert experience. All five courses — Arroyo, Siena, Badlands and the two at Angel Park — would be outstanding options for a golfer coming to Vegas. When paired with a night at the Suncoast, though, and the associated savings? It’s as close to a sure bet as you can find.
taying on the east side of the city can offer equally outstanding values — after all, you’re going to need to have something left in your pocket to go have fun once the sun goes down. Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort, located roughly 13 miles east of The Strip on the shores of Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, is a AAA Four Diamond resort that offers not only luxury accommodations, a full-service salon and spa, pool and lake activities and the best sushi outside of Seattle (believe it), but a rare chance to play one of the Las Vegas area’s top private tracks — The Golf Club at SouthShore.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, and counting LPGA superstar Natalie Gulbis among its many elite members, the course — called one of the “Top-10 Private Courses in America” by Golf Digest — features over 300 feet in elevation changes, climbing from the shores of the scenic lake up into the surrounding mountain foothills to provide jaw-dropping views of the entire Las Vegas valley. Forced carries, dozens of bunkers and water elements and your typical desert wash and arroyo features will force you to bring your A-game, but wide Bermuda fairways give midhandicappers a chance to taste the life of luxury without completely busting out.
f you find yourself needing to get away from the 24-hour hustle and bustle that is Vegas, point the car northeast up I-15 and make the hour’s drive to Mesquite. Made famous by the 2007 season of the Golf Channel’s popular “Big Break” series, held at Mesquite’s Arnold Palmer-designed Palmer at Oasis course, Mesquite has become one of the most popular golf destinations for savvy travelers — and locals looking to trade the endless pulse of The Strip for red rock valleys, expansive mountain vistas and some of the most incredible courses the Southwest has to offer. Among Mesquite’s newest additions is Conestoga Golf Club, opened in 2009. Seemingly cut from the dry, rugged slopes that envelop the first nine holes, Conestoga is like one of those fantasy courses that made EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour series so popular — the scenery and routing are so unbelievable, it seems like it could only exist in the digital world … but it’s real. Conestoga’s front nine winds up, down and around the natural landscape, with long forced carries, greens surrounded on three sides by towering canyon walls, blind shots from elevated tees, dramatic par-3s and undulating fairways that challenge golfers of all abilities. On the plus side, you’ll spend more time ogling the scenery than you will hunting for your ball — the sparsely-vegetated hillsides make it easy to track down a mishit, and offer scramblers a chance to turn a bad
GOES ON VACATION drive into par or better. Indeed, with a rating of 74.9 and a slope of 147 from the 7,232-yard back tees, Conestoga can be one of the most difficult tracks you’ll ever play. Or, at just 5,889 from the Copper Tees, or 6,378 from the Silver (two of five total tees to choose from), it can be a more reasonable test of your skills, allowing you to enjoy the challenge, without being overwhelmed by it. The elevated tee shot at the par-4 4th hole offers golfers a choice — try to use the elevation to your advantage and blast it over a canyon wall to the second fairway, leaving just 100 yards to the pin, or play it safe and lay up to the canyon’s edge? Risk/reward opportunities continue throughout the round, which opens up slightly on the back before finishing with an epic downhill, 472-yard par-4 … take whatever you have left, and let it fly. As with almost all of Mesquite (including other top tracks like Falcon Ridge, Sand Hollow the aforementioned Palmer and others), the true value is in the price — as little as $90 in January, the start of the desert’s peak playing season. Further savings can be had by packaging rounds at Conestoga and other Mesquite tracks with local hotels through the website GolfMesquiteNevada.com, where a golfer can plan an entire Mesquite getaway and benefit from up-to-theminute specials and stay-and-play bargains.
FARE TO REMEMBER With all the buffets, hot dog stands and lavish restaurants for a hungry vacationing Vegas golfer to consider after a day of hitting the links, here are a few places we think stand out on a strip of street where world-class cuisine is at every turn.
CHARLIE PALMER STEAK • charliepalmer.com Located in the Four Seasons Hotel on Las Vegas Boulevard, Charlie Palmer’s is a perfect place for the beefeater to allow mind, body and soul to reunite after a dry, hot day on the Vegas golf circuit. Chef Steve Blandino and his staff will wow you with beef, chop and fish dishes that are a cut above, and an ambiance, wine list (including some familiar bottles from home) and service that will make you feel like you are dining in your very own club.
Angel Park • Mountain Course • No. 9
ANDRE’S RESTAURANT & LOUNGE • andrelv.com/montecarlo Located in the Monte Carlo Hotel, Andre’s is an authentic, world-class experience – all French, all the time. With a European sexy/vintage/hip décor and a menu designed by the legendary Vegas chef Andre Rochat, the AAA Four Diamond experience will go down as one of the finest I have ever had – period. With beef, seafood, pasta and wild game on the menu – prepared in ways that most foodies have yet to savor – this place shines on the street where indulgence is the norm. Save time at the end of your meal for a world-class cognac — Andre’s upstairs cognac collection is registered as one the world’s best and it’s worth the time to see it for yourself.
SILK ROAD RESTAURANT • vdara.com Get some much-needed fuel after full-tilt night with a breakfast that you’ll never forget at the Silk Road Restaurant in the new Vdara Hotel & Spa. Vdara is not a casino — it’s a glitzy-hip urban getaway hotel and condo tower that is just flat-out awesome. Its sleek surroundings feel like modern Hollywood, the fresh press coffee was fab and the breakfast menu decadent — especially the fresh pastries and unique spin on eggs and sausage. Then, hit the Vdara spa where you can wash away the bogies and soak in the rejuvenating steam. – Dick Stephens
That makes it a perfect partner for the resort, which offers all of the above for as little as $299 a night, less than what most of the major Strip hotels charge just for an equivalent room. Loews Lake Las Vegas is also a good home base from which to attack The Legacy, one of Henderson’s best courses that don’t come with a three-digit greens fee, or to splurge on Rio Secco and Cascata — two of the region’s most luxurious tracks for golfers willing to spend a few extra bucks for a comparably impressive experience. But if we had just one round left to play in Vegas, and only a few dollars left in our pocket, we’d let it ride at The Revere, just south of the city in Henderson. Featuring two courses — the Lexington and the Concord — The Revere has become a favorite among both locals and savvy golf travelers alike for its unbelievable scenery, forgiving layout and daily-play rates as low as $80 that seem more like a throwback to its Revolutionary Warinspired theme than the rate you’d expect a modern-day course of its quality to command. The Lexington is The Revere’s first and most famous course, with cascading waterfalls and elevated tees like that at the 591-yard, par-5 second hole (“Old Ironside”), where drives of 350-400 yards are not at all common from a tee box nearly 100 feet above the landing area. Best of all, the course’s wide fairways and actual rough — not just rock-strewn desert hardpan — give you the freedom to push all-in and let fly with the driver almost every hole. Playing the Concord course, the Lexington’s equally impressive yet less in-demand sibling, during peak morning hours followed by an afternoon or twilight round on The Lexington will both save you money, and allow you to appreciate a long last look at the mountains, valley and Strip below before packing up the car and heading home.
here’s really just one key to navigating a Vegas golf vacation — be grateful. That’s right, grateful. Sure, you may take your bad beats at the tables or on the course, but just as when you hit driver off the deck to try to reach that par-5 in two, that was a risk you accepted going in. The fun isn’t always in putting your ball on the green — it’s in the thrill you get in that moment before you take the club back; that rush of adrenaline that says, “I’m going for it.” And no town gives you the chance to go for it like Vegas.
PLACE YOUR WE’VE GATHERED ALL THE LINKS to help make planning your next Vegas golf vacation as close to a sure thing as you can find within 20 miles of The Strip:
WHERE TO STAY LOEWS LAKE LAS VEGAS RESORT Lake Las Vegas loewshotels.com/lakelasvegas 800-235-6397
SUNCOAST HOTEL AND CASINO Las Vegas suncoastcasino.com 877-677-7111
WHERE TO PLAY The Revere • Lexington Course • No. 9
VEGAS VACATION We’ve teamed with some of our favorite Vegas venues to give Cascade Golfer readers the chance to pocket their own Vegas getaway — including two rounds each at Desert Pines and The Revere — A $600 VALUE! Log on to CascadeGolfer.com today for your chance to swing like a high roller this season!
ANGEL PARK | Las Vegas angelpark.com • 888-4GOLFLV
LAS VEGAS NATIONAL GC | Las Vegas lasvegasnational.com • 866-695-1961
THE ARROYO GOLF CLUB | Las Vegas thearroyogolfclub.com • 866-934-GOLF
THE LEGACY GOLF CLUB | Henderson thelegacygc.com • 888-4GOLFLV
BALI HAI GOLF CLUB | Las Vegas balihaigolfclub.com • 888-427-6678
THE REVERE GOLF CLUB | Las Vegas reveregolf.com • 877-273-8373
CASCATA | Boulder City harrahs.com/golf/cascata-golf • 702-294-2000
RIO SECCO GOLF CLUB | Henderson riosecco.net • 702-777-2400
DESERT PINES CLUB | Las Vegas desertpinesgolfclub.com • 888-427-6678
ROYAL LINKS GOLF CLUB | Las Vegas royallinksgolfclub.com • 888-427-6678
SIENA GOLF CLUB | Las Vegas sienagolfclub.com • 888-689-6469
2010 Cascade Golfer Winter Wonderlands
Our Coachella Valley cohort gives
an insider’s tips to a perfect desert golf getaway BY MATT MCKAY
o you’re ready to make that “Palm Springs” trip, eh? You think you can handle perfect weather, martinis on the verandah, the living desert
and some of the best resort golf in the country? Bring it on. However, you should come armed with more than your clubs, resort wear and pre-selected golf finery. That’s where we come in. Follow a few of these tips and play a few rounds at the following golf courses — better yet, use the valley’s numerous high-end hotels and world-class golf resorts such as Indian Wells and LaQuinta as a jumping off point for your desert golf vacation. And don’t forget your most-happening sunglasses; you’ll need them. Palm Springs is one of nine cities that make up the Coachella Valley, along with (from northwest to southeast) Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells, La Quinta, and Indio. Each city is proud of its offerings, and while driving from end to end may take as much as an hour, visiting all the cities is an important part of a wellrounded desert vacation. When staying in Indian Wells, chances are you’ll dine one night in Palm Springs, catch a movie in Cathedral City, shop in La Quinta and play golf in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indio and, yes, Indian Wells. In other words, there are several small towns, but the valley isn’t small. Whether you’re looking for five-star accommodations and golf; a centrallylocated, stand-alone hotel giving you the optimum jumping-off point for golf throughout the valley; or a vacation plan that puts you on the golf course, and your non-playing spouse in position to take advantage of the desert’s other attractions; we’ve tracked down all the best deals to make your Coachella Valley getaway a winner.
athedral City, just east of Palm Springs, doesn’t enjoy the golf reputation of its neighboring municipalities. But CATHEDRAL CANYON GOLF CLUB has the city’s golf needs covered, along with the private home and condo owners on the property, and the wintertime visitor. Now managed by Billy Casper Golf (Casper himself actually had a hand in the design) and general manager Darren Stanek, the decision was recently made to eliminate nine holes and concentrate golf operations around the remaining 18. Improved conditions on the Lake View and Mountain View nines, which measure a combined 6,505 from the back tees, but have water in play on 13 of the 18 holes, are among the benefits of consolidation. Cathedral Canyon has instituted a number of levels of membership to account for the wide variety of players wishing to become members, from full-time residents to
Indian Wells Golf Resort • Celebrity Course • Hole No.14
seven-day visitors, and all those between. An example is the six-month Seasonal Unlimited membership, which assesses members a monthly membership fee with no initiation and a minimal monthly food minimum. Of course, full annual memberships are also available at one of the valley’s most competitive rates.
majority of Rancho Mirage golf courses are private, but RANCHO LAS PALMAS RESORT AND SPA offers 27 holes of golf and top-class accommodations and dining as well. The resort’s central valley location makes it a prime choice for golfers looking to work both ends of the valley and everything between. Said traveling golfers can get started right on the property with three distinct nines, the West, South, and North courses. All measure 3,201 yards or less from the back tee, making them a great stretching exercise for the
low handicapper and a fun choice for the couple or family who play together. The distances shouldn’t scare off the traveling lowhandicapper, either. Much of the yardage is sacrificed on the par-3 holes, meaning the par-5s and par-4s still provide a challenge while the shorter par 3’s keep the higher handicappers happily playing along. In addition to excellent golf, Rancho Las Palmas is a full-service resort, with a hotel on-site that oozes laid-back luxury (and laid-back prices to match), a health spa for non-golfers and multiple pools, including the outdoor water park Splashtopia and other pool and lounge areas specifically for adults looking for a quieter waterside experience. Stay-and-play packages start as low as $269 per day for a one night’s stay and unlimited golf for two — play once, twice, three times … it’s up to you. At a typical rate of $95/round on the course and $215/night
in the hotel, you’ve started saving before you’ve even hit the first tee.
n Palm Desert, follow the sounds of construction and you’ll find DESERT WILLOW GOLF RESORT. Why is it, you may ask yourself, that Desert Willow continues to expand, upgrade, and polish its facility, when others nationwide are struggling? Plain and simple, it’s good old money management by the city of Palm Desert, which owns the facility and is reinvesting in its one of its primary assets. The kitchen and dining areas are being expanded to accommodate demand by larger groups — demands that aren’t just based on the customer service and dining. The Firecliff and Mountain View golf courses, designed by John Cook, offer players two top-quality options. Both play over 6,900 yards from the back tees,
ENTER TO WIN A Stay-And-Play to Rancho Las Palmas!
Desert Willow • Firecliff • Hole No.18
One lucky CG reader and the guest of their choice will be enjoying a weekend of golf at the exclusive Rancho Las Palmas Resort — on us! Enter to win today at CascadeGolfer.com!
but the Firecliff Course is spiced with desert outcroppings, arroyos and forced carries along its corridors, while the Mountain View offers the same type of routing and shape with fewer desert carries and encroachments, and more turf. Bottom line: the low handicapper will enjoy and be challenged by both courses, while the resort golfer will encounter fewer obstacles on the Mountain View Course. Of course, for the player that struggles with the challenges of a Firecliff-class course, the Palm Desert Golf Academy at Desert Willow is available to help straighten players out — and improve their trajectory. And few courses offer a better loyalty rewards program, with the purchase of a $299 Platinum Club Card earning up to $60 off the full-price greens fee for
the cardholder and three guests … get three of your friends to each pitch in $75 for the card and play both courses, and you save over $180 on what you would have paid without the card. Within the last 18 months, a new cluster of Westin time-share units have been completed, but there are no short-term accommodations for on-campus stay-andplays — fortunately, the course partners with several hotels in the Palm Desert and Indian Wells area, including the Embassy Suites Palm Desert, and can be easily reached from the INDIAN WELLS GOLF RESORT as well. Like Desert Willow, Indian Wells is technically a municipal facility, as it is owned by the city of Indian Wells. It was the home of the last incarnation of the Skins Game, and offers two courses — the Players and
Celebrity — and four hotels of varying style and amenities, including the Indian Wells Resort Hotel, the Hyatt Grand Champions, the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort, and the Miramonte Resort and Spa. The centerpiece is The IW Club, a beautiful desertmodern building just over a year old which houses the club restaurant and pro shop. The golf courses, formerly the East and West, have both undergone extensive renovations in the last five years, and the improvements on the courses match the change in course names. Clive Clark essentially created the Celebrity Course from scratch, rerouting 13 holes and designing five new holes from what was once 30 open acres and the old West course. Once the East Course, the Players Course was redesigned by John
2010 Cascade Golfer Winter Wonderlands
Fought three years ago and now features Fought’s penal bunker complexes and reasonable fairways. Like Desert Willow, Cathedral Canyon and many desert courses, Indian Wells also offers temporary memberships (or full memberships) along with other programs designed to maximize a Northwest visitor’s value and will tailor your plan to your length of stay and preferred amenities, including hotel & golf, hotel & spa, or a combination of all three. Rates vary based on the choice of lodging and length of the package, but all offer significant savings and a tremendous value for anyone who wants to make Indian Wells a centerpiece of their stay.
ESERT FALLS COUNTRY CLUB, also in Palm Desert, is another example of a semi-private club that offers several different membership options for visitors in town for a week, eight months, or a lifetime. The club is centered around a 7,100-yard Ron Freahm-designed golf course that is well-known among desert golf connoisseurs for being one of the top challenges in the valley. Desert Falls also prides itself on inclusion, and works to connect its members with other members of similar interests through over a dozen special-interest groups. “We stress people, programs, product and price point,”
Ask for the Cascade Golfer Special Stay and Play Offer! Desert Falls Country Club is the
You’re looking for!
1111 Desert Falls Parkway in every way Palm Desert, Ca 92211 Desert-Falls.Com For Membership information & tee times call 760.340.5646
Palm Desert, CA 760.776.4150 www.marriott.com/ctdcy
Palm Desert, CA 760.776.0050 www.marriott.com/ctdri
DESERT DELIGHTS LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO STAY? We’ve dug deep to find best bargains — and the best stay-and-play packages — at local hotels:
Embassy Suites La Quinta
EMBASSY SUITES LA QUINTA
EMBASSY SUITES PALM DESERT
COURTYARD MARRIOTT & RESIDENCE INN MARRIOTT PALM DESERT
HOMEWOOD SUITES LA QUINTA
Embassy Suites La Quinta offers guests a host of extra benefits, including daily cook-to-order breakfast and a nightly hosted manager’s reception with beer, wine and cocktails. All rooms are two-room suites, perfect for golf partners or groups. Old Town La Quinta is right across the street, with over 40 shops, restaurants and galleries to enjoy, while golf packages save you money on both lodging and golf at nearby places like Indian Springs, SilverRock and PGA West — including all four of the courses featured in the annual Bob Hope Classic.
With a centralized location in Palm Desert, just one mile from Indian Wells Resort, the Embassy Suites Palm Desert is a great choice for golfers looking to play in and around the Coachella Valley’s trendiest city. Along with the typical perks of an Embassy Suites — breakfast made-to-order, nightly cocktail receptions, fitness room, free internet, etc. — Embassy Suites Palm Desert partners with Desert Willow, Indian Springs and other area tracks to offer terrific stay-and-play bargains.
Both located within a stone’s throw of Desert Willow, and within minutes of Desert Falls and other great courses (and with the stay-and-play packages to complement the location) Marriott’s Courtyard and Residence Inn are among the valley’s best picks. The Courtyard is the more traditional hotel, while the Residence Inn features all smoke-free suites with full-service kitchens. Both hotels have all the expected Marriott comforts, including free wireless internet, daily newspaper service, in-room coffee and tea service and those heavenly Marriott beds.
If you’re planning an extended stay, Homewood Suites La Quinta is a good choice. A full kitchen with a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher and microwave complement a daily hot breakfast, weeknight receptions and a heated outdoor pool and spa with community poolside barbeque grills. Best of all, though, is an on-site putting green to work on your stroke between rounds, and stay-and-play partnerships with Indian Springs and other top tracks.
Homewood Suites La Quinta
Rancho Las Palmas 111
Residence Inn Palm Desert
Embassy Suites Palm Desert
Embassy Suites La Quinta
La Quinta Resort and Spa
1 CATHEDRAL CANYON GC | Cathedral City cathedral-canyon.com • 760-328-6571
5 EMBASSY SUITES PALM DESERT | Palm Desert embassysuites.hilton.com • 760-340-6600
9 LA QUINTA RESORT AND SPA | La Quinta laquintaresort.com • 760-564-4111
2 DESERT FALLS CC | Palm Desert clubcorp.com • 760-340-5646
6 HOMEWOOD SUITES LA QUINTA | La Quinta homewoodsuites.com • 760-391-4600
10 RANCHO LAS PALMAS RESORT & SPA | Rancho Mirage rancholaspalmas.com • 866-423-1195
3 DESERT WILLOW GOLF RESORT | Palm Springs desertwillow.com • 760-346-7060
7 INDIAN SPRINGS GC | La Quinta/Indio indianspringsgc.com • 866-GO-1-GOLF
11 RESIDENCE INN PALM DESERT | Palm Desert marriott.com • 760-776-0050
4 EMBASSY SUITES LA QUINTA | La Quinta embassysuites.hilton.com • 760-777-1711
8 INDIAN WELLS GOLF RESORT | Indian Wells indianwellsgolfresort.com • 888-753-1270
12 SILVERROCK RESORT | La Quinta silverrock.org • 760-777-8884
2010 Cascade Golfer Winter Wonderlands
says general manager Tim Skogen. Called by Golf magazine “one of the most challenging and enjoyable courses in Southern California,” Desert Falls has a reputation for being as friendly to players as it is challenging to their game. Five sets of tees, however, allow golfers to play the course to a length that matches their ability — and it’s strongly advised you do so — while bringing the numerous bunkers and water hazards into play the way Freahm intended. Not constantly hunting for your ball, too, will make it easier for you to enjoy the beautiful scenery, of which Desert Falls boasts some of the valley’s best. Before booking your round online, though, give Skogen’s friendly staff a call — discounts can be had by playing more than once, or by combining your round with a night’s stay at one of Desert Falls’ many stay-and-play partners.
A QUINTA RESORT, one of the original draws to the Coachella Valley, remains a world-class destination. Walking its grounds, visitors know they’re in a place that would be recognized by fellow travelers and friends around the world, giving the traveler that exclusive “if only they could see me now” feeling. Once the getaway for stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age, the resort maintains its feeling of exclusive seclusion despite the fact that the town of La Quinta
SilverRock Resort • Hole No.10
has grown up all around it. The hotel’s bungalows are spread across a wide area, each cluster surrounding its own unique, Mexican-tiled pool and spa. What sets La Quinta apart for golfers is its wide array of course offerings. From the world-famous PGA West Stadium Course to the grassy PGA West Greg Norman Course, La Quinta offers five championship golf courses to its resort guests. What can be said about the Pete Dye-designed
Stadium Course that hasn’t been said before? It’s simply a must-play. But it’s likely that players will have a much better score at the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, which is more player-friendly than a traditional Nicklaus layout. The Norman Course, while offering a robust set of par-5s, is still the most likely place to spot couples or juniors because of its minimal use of forced carries, and the fact that hitting into the desert, wide of the fairways, isn’t an automatic penalty — call it “desert gold.”
Best Course Under $100 ~The Desert Sun
La Quinta, CA
ClUB HOUSe GrIlle 760-200-9844
TEE TIMES 1-866-GO1-Golf IndianSpringsGC.com
Best Value in the Palm Springs Area • Our Greens are a “Perfect 10” Call about Stay & Play Packages!
Embassy Suites La Quinta (760)777-1711 Homewood Suites La Quinta (760) 391-4600 • Embassy Suites Palm Desert (760)340-6600
2010 Cascade Golfer Winter Wonderlands
ENTER TO WIN
Six-Night, 10 Round Palm Springs Dream Vacation!
Our Biggest Giveaway of the Year! We’re celebrating the holidays this year by giving Cascade Golfer readers the chance to win our biggest giveaway of the entire year! Just for logging on and entering your name and information at CascadeGolfer.com, you’ll be entered to win a SIXNIGHT, 10-ROUND dream desert getaway, including: Twosome to Indian Wells Twosome to Desert Willow Twosome to SilverRock Twosome to Indian Springs Twosome to Cathedral Canyon Two nights at the Embassy Suites La Quinta Two nights at the Embassy Suites Palm Desert Two nights at the Homewood Suites La Quinta LOG ON TO CASCADEGOLFER.COM FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!
round the corner and still in the town of La Quinta, SILVERROCK isn’t offering any such concessions. As a foundation unit in the PGA Tour’s Bob Hope Classic rotation, the Arnold Palmer-designed course can be stretched to nearly 7,600 yards, yet is somehow still putty in the hands of the Bubba Watsons (the course record holder with 62) and Dustin Johnsons of the world. You, most likely, won’t be doing any overpowering of the broad-shouldered, mountain-kissed holes, even when single-digit players tee up from the 6,658 yards marked off from the blue tees. Just keep the ball in the ample fairways and make hay on the front nine — the vaunted back nine plays 2-3 shots harder than the front, thanks mostly to the killer stretch of beautiful holes from Nos. 12-17. It’s another “municipal” course, this one owned by La Quinta, and master plans include the future construction of an on-property hotel. As with other courses, discounts on golf are available by booking online and taking advantage of one of any number of golf specials. ndio’s INDIAN SPRINGS GOLF CLUB isn’t built around a fancy hotel complex, isn’t semi-private, nor is it municipally owned. It’s owned by general manager Neil Finch, who’s personal stake in the club makes for a customer-friendly atmosphere with double-digit green fees — which go even lower when paired with a stay at
one of Indian Springs’ numerous local (off-site) hotel partners, including the Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites in Palm Desert. Finch says Indian Springs’ philosophy is to give players a “trunk-to-trunk” experience, meaning from the time players drive in to the time their clubs are loaded back into their cars, they are cared for and catered to. But at Finch’s joint, don’t be too hasty after the round. The Clubhouse Grill features high-top tables, flatscreen TVs and frosty beer. And the golf course isn’t too shabby either, particularly for the price point, earning it this magazine’s “Best Course Under $100” honor last December. Originally opened in 1962, the course measures nearly 6,800 yards from the back tee and provides the right mix of few forced carries and avoidable water hazards to keep players of all levels interested, along with what Finch calls “the best greens in the desert.” And for as little as $65 a round? Well, there’s hardly a better way to close out your dream Valley vacation.
ll that’s really left for you, the Coachella Valley golfer, is to decide how big of a bite you want to, are willing to, or can afford to take — then start chewing. Martinis are standing by. Matt McKay is a freelance writer and host of Palm Springs’ original golf talk radio show, The Elevated Tee, airing weekends on KPSI throughout the Coachella Valley.
Warm Your Belly I
f you’re going to brave the elements to hit the course this winter — and we know you are — you’re going to need something to warm your belly at the end of the round. Here are some menu items from local courses that will put the red back in your cheeks — though it’s still up to you to put the red on the scorecard.
Spicy Lamb Stew Golf Club at Newcastle • Newcastle It’s been a cold, wet round — then the waiter places in front of you a steaming bowl of stew made from tender bites of lamb, hearty chunks of potatoes, carrots and Greek spices, all boiled in a generous helping of beer. Let the spices and the steam clear your sinuses before diving in with a spoon, or dunking a handful of the house-made soda bread.
Black Jack Steak McCormick Woods • Port Orchard Stew is a great belly-warmer, but sometimes you just need a big piece of meat. Few come better than McCormick’s Black Jack Steak, a 10 oz. cut of prime-grade charbroiled rib eye steak blackened with Cajun spices and basted with BBQ sauce. It had me at hello.
Bacon-Wrapped Meat Loaf The Golf Club at Redmond Ridge • Redmond Really, is there a need to even describe this? The Crooked Spoon’s signature dish, a steaming, succulent piece of meat loaf wrapped in juicy, delicious bacon and baked together to let the flavors blend. Your heart may not like it, but your tummy and your taste buds will be oh-so-grateful — and anyway, as a winter golfer, you deserve it.
DECEMBER 2010 DECEMBER 2010
HOT TODDY As any golfer in the British Isles knows, nothing gets rid of those wintertime post-round sniffles like a Hot Toddy. While it seems like nearly everyone has their own variation on a Hot Toddy recipe, here’s the one we find makes the pain of all those double bogies melt away … INGREDIENTS
• Spiced Chai Tea (1 bag or 6 oz) • 2 oz whiskey • 1 tsp honey • 3 whole cloves • 1 slice lemon • 1 cinnamon stick • 1 pinch nutmeg DIRECTIONS Put a tea bag in your favorite mug. Boil water for a 6 oz. cup of tea. boiling, pour water, whiskey and honey into mug. Add in cloves, cinnamon and lemon. Cover the top of the mug (I use a coaster) to let the flavors steep together. After 5 minutes, remove the cover, sprinkle on the nutmeg, and take that first little sip of spiced wintertime heaven. VARIATIONS You can use any kind of tea you like, or just water. Also, rum or bourbon can be substituted for whiskey for a sweeter taste. If you don’t have a cinnamon stick, just sprinkle liberally. cascadegolfer.com cascadegolfer.com